The Superleague Takes Off: Alive and Kicking- It's Called Premier League
The Uncertain Future of the SuperLeague and Challenges Facing European Football
Over the past few days, the controversial “SuperLeague” has once again made headlines. With only three teams – Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus – still backing the failed project, the SuperLeague has undergone a complete transformation.
The latest proposal is to create tournaments that would replace the UEFA Champions League, featuring between 60 to 80 teams competing across multiple leagues.
Notably, there will be no permanent membership in the SuperLeague, and each club will be required to play a minimum of 14 games per season.
This development marks a significant shift in the SuperLeague’s original concept and could have major implications for the future of European football.
The company A22 manages the efforts to establish the SuperLeague. They have outlined ten principles aimed at improving dialogue with stakeholders in European football, enhancing competitions, and upgrading resources.
However, the proposed SuperLeague faces many challenges. It does not have a sponsor or significant financial entity to finance its activities. It also lacks a content agreement with a telecommunications giant.
In addition, the initiative lacks support from other major clubs, the European Club Association, or the European Leagues Association. Some organizations have even issued statements opposing A22’s efforts. The UEFA European Leagues claimed it had not been contacted by A22.
Given these significant challenges, the future of the SuperLeague remains uncertain.
The reactions to the relaunch are sharp this time as well. “This move is another attempt by the big clubs to hijack European football,” commented Javier Tebas, president of La Liga.
The European Fans Association said: “The walking corp of the SuperLeague is once again twisted with all the self-awareness that the zombie has. They talk about ‘dialogue with the fans and groups of fans.’ Still, the European Zombie League continues to do whatever it wants and is completely unaware of the fans’ reluctance in such a league.”
“The infrastructure of European football is in danger of collapse,” said Bernd Reichardt, CEO of A22. “It’s time for a change. These are the clubs that have the entrepreneurial risk in football, but when making important decisions, they usually sit slowly with the financial and sporting foundations collapsing around them.”
The same week that A22 published their plan alongside warnings that everything was collapsing when UEFA released its annual economic report on European football (The European Club Footballing Landscape).
UEFA, led by President Alexand Zafrin, also issued warnings about the conduct of European football – but because of a surge in spending on buying players and hiring players. “Groups are jeopardizing their economic sustainability,” Zafrin warned.
The data show that after covid-19, players’ salaries grew by 16%, while the revenues of European clubs grew by an average of 4.6%. “Despite the unrest of recent years, wage budgets have continued to grow,” said Zafrin. “They grew by 16% from the pre-COVID period. Players’ salaries in the major leagues have more than doubled in the last decade. And while this is not a negative trend, it is clear that clubs compromise on economic sustainability with an irresponsible pursuit of success.”
UEFA’s report also highlights spending in the Premier League – that in the last transfer window only one team from this league, Chelsea, spent more than all the top leagues. The Premier League paid around €2.87 billion to its players in 2021 – at least 1.5 times more than any other league.
In 2021, English clubs paid around €886 million to all the clubs’ staff and staff members – which is 2.2 times more than any other league. In comparison, the Premier League pays more to its staff and staff than all French league teams other than Paris Saint-Germain pay their players. The trend is clear – apart from European clubs that can pay Premier League sums to their players, no team in Europe can compete with the expenses of a medium to a small team in the Premier League.
UEFA, which will not allow the team to spend more than 70% of its revenues on wages and procurement, is not really dealing with the problem. On the contrary – it allows the English teams, which bring in much more than any European rival – to invest even more in themselves.
It is estimated that the Premier League will end the current season with an income of 7.1 billion euros. The Spanish teams will bring in only 3.7 billion euros and the Bundesliga teams only 3.6 billion euros. The Italian league brings in only 2.4 billion euros, and the French league 1.8 billion.
The warning about group spending is built-in. “Football price inflation” is a real deal. If the prices of ordinary products were to rise in the rate of price increases paid in English football for players, then a pint of beer would cost 50 Pounds and a TV 25,000 thousand Pounds – but the inflation in player prices is due, first of all, to a massive increase in revenue. An increase that the Premier League enjoys and the rest of the leagues are not keeping up.
Tsafrin explained that the recovery from covid-19 is “strong” but added that football is “still navigating through difficult times” and he asks: “We must strengthen the unity of the European football family. We can overcome any challenge by working together and being loyal to our beautiful sport.”
These are beautiful words, but the reality is that after the football teams in Europe “navigate through difficult times”, they will come out of the forest and discover that a Superleague has already been established. And this Superleague is called the Premier League.